A hand-operated aparatus used for stamping wax seals on letters at Ararat Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, Australia, circa 1867 - 1905

Physical Description

flat, heavy, oblong base out of which rises a thick, hollow shaft, curved in a quarter circle, flattened on sides and rounded at end. Has slit on top into which fits diagonal lever with slim, elegantly shaped wooden handle. When handle is pushed down the seal - short, metal cylinder engraved underneath with a crown and "Lunatic Asylum, Ararat" - is imprinted onto wax on the letter. A 3cm hole is directly under the seal. Painted black with plain gold and red border around base and with scrolled decoration in gold, red and turquoise on back and sides of main shaft. Letter (with wax) is placed on base under stamp.


Example of official stationary items used in Victorian mental health hospitals

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